July 8, 2022 Russia-Ukraine news

By Hafsa Khalil, Aditi Sangal, Hannah Strange, Adrienne Vogt and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 7:13 p.m. ET, July 8, 2022
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5:38 p.m. ET, July 8, 2022

Ukrainian official warns that humanitarian situation in Severodonetsk will become "catastrophic" soon

From CNN's Karen Smith

The gutted remains of cars sit along a road during heavy fighting in Severodonetsk on June 8.
The gutted remains of cars sit along a road during heavy fighting in Severodonetsk on June 8. (Oleksandr Ratushniak/AP)

The humanitarian situation in the eastern Ukrainian city of Severodonetsk will be “catastrophic” in the near future, according to Oleksandr Striuk, the head of the city's military administration.  

Striuk said Friday that most of the city’s infrastructure cannot be restored, and sanitary conditions are especially bad. He said the central sewage collector has been severely damaged along with pumping stations and water intake.

After months of fighting, Russian troops took control of the eastern city in late June.

Striuk said “90% of the housing stock is damaged; 60% require demolition and rebuilding."

He added most of the city will have to be rebuilt, and many high-rise buildings will have to built again from scratch.

6:29 p.m. ET, July 8, 2022

US will provide Ukraine with 4 more rocket systems in new $400 million security assistance package

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman and Barbara Starr

US President Joe Biden's administration will provide Ukraine with four more high mobility artillery rocket systems, or HIMARS, in the latest security assistance package, according to a senior defense official. 

The latest package is valued at $400 million and is drawing from Presidential Drawdown Authority funding only, meaning the US is sending weapons directly from US stockpiles of weapons.

The $400 million package includes four additional HIMARS and additional ammunition for those HIMARS; three tactical vehicles to “recover equipment, support Ukrainian efforts to repair, resupply as the battle continues;” 1,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition; demolition munitions; counter battery systems; and spare parts and other equipment, the official said.

The 1,000 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition that the US is providing to Ukraine in this package is a “new type” of ammunition that the US has not provided to Ukraine previously, the official added. 

“It has greater precision. It offers Ukraine precise targeting, precise capability for specific targets; it will save ammunition, it will be more effective due to the precision, so it’s a further evolution in our support for Ukraine in this battle for the Donbas,” the official said. 

The US has provided Ukraine with 12 HIMARS total with the commitment of these additional four systems, the official said.

Reports that Russians have destroyed two HIMAR systems are false, the official added.

“The ones that have already been provided are fully accounted for. Ukrainians are still using them in the fight,” the official said. 

12:47 p.m. ET, July 8, 2022

Putin urges Russian energy companies to be ready for an oil embargo, state media reports

From CNN's Uliana Pavlova

A view shows Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft's Moscow oil refinery on the south-eastern outskirts of Moscow on April 28.
A view shows Russian oil producer Gazprom Neft's Moscow oil refinery on the south-eastern outskirts of Moscow on April 28. (Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP/Getty Images)

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Russian companies on Friday to be ready for an oil embargo and new European Union sanctions package, Russian state news agency TASS reported.

“As you know, the European Union introduced another sanctions package against Russia with an oil embargo. Domestic companies should be ready for this decision. We spoke about the prospects for such restrictions at the last meeting on the fuel and energy complex," he said at a meeting with the government, according to TASS.

In May, the European Union agreed to an embargo on 90% of the oil it imports from Russia.

Putin also said that the West is trying to force other countries to increase energy production, but “the Russian market is stable and does not tolerate fuss.”

"Since the beginning of the year, the level of oil production has exceeded the previous year by 3.5%. Gas production for the period from January to May decreased, but only slightly - by only 2%," the Russian president said.

1:17 p.m. ET, July 8, 2022

Russian invasion of Ukraine spurs economic crisis in Egypt and preparations for unrest

From CNN's Sarah El Sirgany and Lina El Wardani

There are only a few items in Hanna Ayyad’s fridge at any given moment these days. The Cairo street fruit vendor has restricted his family’s diet as inflation triggered by the Ukraine war has soared in Egypt.

“Now we buy new clothes every other holiday,” he tells CNN. “We can do without eating meat, buying it once a month, and we may buy chicken two or three times a month, not like before.”

His customers too can only afford a fraction of what they used to buy, shrinking his daily income.

“Some people used to buy 5kg or 10kg of fruit – now they can buy 1kg or 2kg at most,” he says. It takes him days to sell the same amount of produce he used to sell in one day.

Egyptian households of all income levels are seeing their spending power erode fast. The economic crisis raises prospects of unrest in a country where a regime was overthrown just a decade ago in an uprising calling for “bread, freedom and social justice.”

In recent months, scores have protested because of delays to new car deliveries caused by import restrictions and the devaluation of the local currency; Facebook groups were set up to find local alternatives for pet foods after imports were restricted, and poorer Egyptians like Ayyad have cut back on groceries.

Moody’s credit rating agency warned in May about “social and political risks” as it downgraded Egypt’s economic outlook for the year from stable to negative. And the government appears to share those concerns.

Anticipating unrest, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has initiated a national dialogue with opposition figures, a change of tack from a crackdown on dissent that has kept thousands of people behind bars for years.

Wheat import prices double

Egypt’s official inflation rate stood at 14.7% in June, up from around 5% at the same time last year, but consumers say prices have skyrocketed beyond this figure since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February.

Across the capital, at an upscale supermarket, Haya Aref looks for cheaper, local alternatives on her shopping list. Previously, she would notice 10% to 15% increase in prices every six or eight months, but the price hikes have become more frequent and bigger now, she says.

“I used to buy an international brand [of cereal] that was probably around 70 or 80 Egyptian pounds (around $4) that has now gone up to 250 ($13),” the 23-year-old architect says. She has cut down on proteins and snacks to trim her monthly budget. For her, locally grown vegetables have become an affordable and healthier option.

The war in Ukraine has brought uncertainty to global grain markets and driven up prices. Egypt, which depends on Russia and Ukraine for 80% of its wheat imports, now pays $435 per tonne instead of $270 last year, according to the government.

Read more:

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8:02 a.m. ET, July 8, 2022

Pro-Russian officials say Ukrainian missiles hit hydroelectric plant in Kherson, but facility still operational

From CNN's Tim Lister, Olga Voitovych and Julia Presniakova

Pro-Russian officials in the Kherson region say that Ukrainian missiles hit a hydroelectric power station in the town of Nova Kakhovka early Friday, but failed to destroy it.

Ukrainians "attempted to shell the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station. The consequences of the destruction of such a production facility could be catastrophic for the residents of the Kherson region," the Kherson region military-civil administration said.

Russian air defenses "successfully repelled a missile attack from Ukraine," the administration added.

“The terrorists of the Kyiv regime will not be able to intimidate the inhabitants of the Kherson region, who are building a peaceful life together with Russia. The hydroelectric power station continues to provide energy," said Vladimir Saldo, head of the administration and a former Ukrainian official.

The hydroelectric power station is located in the town of Nova Kakhovka on River Dnieper. It was taken by Russian forces early in the invasion but over the last month has become a target for Ukrainian missiles and long-range rockets as the Ukrainians try to disrupt Russian supply lines. 

Following the attempt, Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed Kherson military-civil administration, said, "There are victims, we are clarifying."

Meanwhile, Ukrainian officials claim that a military target was struck. 

Serhii Bratchuk, spokesman for the Odesa regional military administration, said that a warehouse of ammunition and air defenses was hit. He also claimed that several dozen Russian soldiers had been killed or wounded.  

Earlier, an adviser to the Ukrainian head of the Kherson regional military administration said three warehouses in Nova Kakhova had been hit by Ukrainian missiles.

7:32 a.m. ET, July 8, 2022

Ukrainian official responds to Putin saying offensive is not "anything in earnest" yet

From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych

Mykhailo Podolyak in Kyiv on April 19.
Mykhailo Podolyak in Kyiv on April 19. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

A senior Ukrainian official has responded to Russian President Vladimir Putin's assertion that the offensive in Ukraine was only just beginning.

Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to the head of President Volodymyr Zelensky's office, said on Twitter: "37,000 dead Russian soldiers. Total sanitary losses [injured] of 98-117 thousand people. 10 generals were eliminated. 1605 tanks, 405 planes/helicopters were turned into scrap."

"Has Russia not started fighting yet? Is [the] Kremlin considering war only by Stalin's mathematics - 20 million losses?"

CNN is unable to verify Ukrainian claims of Russian losses.

Podolyak was responding to remarks by Putin to parliamentary leaders in Moscow on Thursday. 

"Everybody should know that largely speaking, we haven’t even yet started anything in earnest" in Ukraine, Putin said.

He said the conflict might drag on until the “last Ukrainian is left standing.”

“Today we hear that they want to defeat us on the battlefield. Well, what can I say? Let them try,” Putin said during a meeting which aired on state media television Russia-24. 

"We have continuously heard that the West is ready to fight with us until the last Ukrainian is left standing. This is a tragedy for the Ukrainian people. However, it seems like everything is going towards this," he said.

4:27 p.m. ET, July 8, 2022

It's 2:30 p.m. in Kyiv. Here's what you need to know

From CNN staff

Talks are underway at the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting in Bali, where a big part of the agenda is Russia’s war in Ukraine. The meeting comes after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told CNN that Ukraine is unwilling to cede any of its land to Russia, and Russia's Vladimir Putin warned the war could drag on until the "last Ukrainian is left standing."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer on Thursday.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky during a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer on Thursday. (CNN)

Here are the latest headlines: 

  • Russia pushes into Donetsk: Over 40 towns and villages in Donbas have come under attack over the last 24 hours, the Ukrainian military said. The General Staff said that Russian forces are advancing towards the cities of Bakhmut and Sloviansk, west of the Luhansk-Donetsk border, while regional military administrators have reported fire in Sumy in the north, and Kryvyi Rih in the south. Also in the south, many villages in Kherson and Mykolaiv are on the “verge of destruction.”

  • Atacks on Russian military supplies: Ukrainian forces have attacked Russian military warehouses in the southern region of Kherson before dawn on Friday. The adviser to the head of Kherson’s military administration, Serhii Khlan, told Ukrainian television that their fire is destroying the “occupiers” warehouse and rear reserves. Khlan claims there have been three attacks on warehouses in Nova Kakhovka, a town in Kherson.
  • Russia’s destruction of agriculture: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba told foreign ministers at the G20 meeting in Bali that Russia is conducting “a well-thought and cynical strategy" to destroy Ukraine's agriculture, blackmailing the world as it destabilizes global food security. Kuleba called Ukraine “a global breadbasket…looted by Russian criminals” who have struck grain terminals, blocked Ukrainian ports exporting grain, and stolen Ukrainian grain.
  • Zelensky won't cede territory: The Ukrainian President said "Ukrainians are not ready to give away their land," in an exclusive interview with CNN. Volodymyr Zelensky acknowledged that Russia controls "almost all the Luhansk region" but urged the West to continue providing military support to help Ukraine keep up its fight. He also reiterated his call for US President Joe Biden to visit Kyiv, saying it would send a message to Russia and the world.
  • Putin warns of long war: Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a warning to the West and Ukraine, saying the war could drag on until the "last Ukrainian is left standing." Putin challenged the West to defeat Russia on the battlefield, saying "Let them try." He also said the longer the conflict goes on, "the more difficult it will be for them to negotiate with us."

7:55 a.m. ET, July 8, 2022

Russian military warehouses in Kherson struck by Ukrainian forces

From CNN's Tim Lister and Julia Presniakova 

Ukrainian forces continue to target Russian military supplies and warehouses far behind the front lines in the southern region of Kherson, according to regional officials.

Ukrainian fire destroyed "the warehouses [and] rear reserves of the occupiers," Serhii Khlan, adviser to the head of the Kherson military administration, told Ukrainian television.

Khlan said that before dawn on Friday, there was "a powerful explosion" in Nova Kakhovka, a town occupied by Russian forces in Kherson.

Their warehouses are placed "far from the front line" as they think it will protect the rear, "but we see hits," Khlan said. "In recent days we have been constantly hearing about explosions at the warehouses of the occupiers — in Kherson, in Nova Kakhovka, in Chernobaivka."

Khlan claimed that there had been three attacks on warehouses in Nova Kakhovka. A video from the area soon after dawn Friday showed thick smoke rising from an unknown location. 

The pro-Russian authorities now in control of Kherson say that Ukrainian saboteurs have been detained.

Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Russian-backed military-civilian administration, said "Russian special services detained three saboteurs who were planning assassination attempts on the leaders of the region and military personnel of the [Russian] Armed Forces."

Stremousov claimed that authorities had uncovered the command structure of "agent networks organized in the Kherson region by the SBU [Security Service of Ukraine] and Ukrainian military intelligence."

Some background: In recent days, Ukraine has stepped up attacks in both Donetsk and Kherson against Russian supply lines and storage depots as it tries to hinder Russian operations.

The US director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, said the Kremlin "faces rising partisan activity in southern Ukraine" during a conference in Washington DC last month.

US officials added that they believe Russia does not have enough forces in Kherson to effectively occupy and control the region, with three assassination attempts against pro-Russian officials in June suggesting a burgeoning resistance movement among the Ukrainians.

6:51 a.m. ET, July 8, 2022

Ukraine minister accuses Russia of "cynical" strategy to destroy country's agriculture

From CNN's Tim Lister and Olga Voitovych

Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
Ukraine Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba. (Ruslan Kaniuka/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has told the G20 Foreign Ministers Meeting that Russia has embarked on a "a well-thought and cynical strategy" to destroy Ukraine's agriculture.

Kuleba addressed the G20 meeting in Indonesia by video link.

"The Russian naval blockade of Ukrainian ports has already shredded global chains of food supply and has a detrimental effect on global food security. Adding insult to injury, Russia steals Ukrainian grain and bombs Ukrainian granaries," he said. 
"Russia is essentially playing hunger games with the world by keeping the naval blockade of Ukrainian ports with one hand and shifting the blame for it on Ukraine with the other hand. Russia sees dependence of other countries on any type of resources as weakness and an invitation to use this dependence as a leverage to Russia’s gain."

Kuleba said that Russian forces had struck Ukraine’s second largest grain terminal complex at the port of Mykolaiv in June, claiming that "Russia knew exactly where it fired its missiles." The strike was aimed at causing destruction in Ukraine and "blackmailing the world," he added.

Kuleba told the foreign ministers that for decades, Ukraine -- often described as "a global breadbasket" -- has been essential to worldwide food security, but is now being "attacked, bombed, and looted by Russian criminals."

Responding to Russian claims that Ukraine was blocking its own ports, Kuleba said: "Their accusations defy basic logic. How can we be interested in blocking our own food exports when they provide one of our main sources of revenues for the budget? We are interested in exporting our food products just as much as our consumers are interested in getting them as soon as possible."

Separately, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry has alleged that Russia is using munitions to set farmland on fire as harvest season gets underway. A recent video shows combine harvesters in parts of southern Ukraine trying to gather in grain as fires burn through fields.

Some background: The UN has said Russia's blockade of Ukrainian ports has already raised global food prices and threatens to cause a catastrophic food shortage in some parts of the world. 

On Thursday, Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said the release of a Russian ship allegedly carrying stolen Ukrainian grain from Turkish waters was "unacceptable." Turkey ignored a request to arrest the vessel and cargo and the ship was released on July 6, according to a ministry statement. The Russian merchant ship, Zhibek Zholy, had carried the grain from the occupied port of Berdiansk to the Turkish port of Karasu.

Russia has repeatedly denied it is blocking the ports or stealing grain.